- Associated Press - Saturday, May 7, 2016

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) - The oldest competitor in Saturday’s St. George Ironman has been racing for than four decades and survived cancer a decade ago.

Doug Wells, 75, of Santa Clara, placed first in the 75-79 age group at last year’s ironman competition and expects to do well again this year, though he told The Spectrum of St. George (https://bit.ly/1OemBQn ) that winning isn’t everything.

“Go out there to enjoy it because the objective is not necessarily to win but to finish because crossing the finish line is a great satisfaction,” Wells said when asked for advice for other triathletes. “Just enjoy the day and go for the finish line, just keep going.”

He has been participating in the 70.3-mile triathlon since 2010 but didn’t start racing until he was 36. A year after that first 5k race he ran his first marathon at the age of 37.

“The St. George Ironman was one of those things that just grabbed me,” Wells said. “I just had to go and do it.”

His distance running career did have a major setback in 2006 when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Despite his illness, he competed in the St. George Marathon that same year, though he said he was a bit slower than in previous years. He was ruled cancer-free five years later after several rounds of chemotherapy.

“Generally with life it’s made me want to appreciate each day so to speak, to appreciate living and to take advantage of life,” Wells said. “You do tend to value life and living and choose to live life more fully.”

He said the races themselves are his motivation and that making the commitment to run, swim, bike or all three is what gets him out the door.

“To me that anticipation for the next event makes triathlons more desirable,” Wells said. “For me it’s a motivator to sign up for an event and then your mind and body is thinking toward that event and you kind of follow.”

Wells has been training about five days a week in preparation for Saturday’s Ironman 70.3. He said he alternated between biking, running and swimming. For Wells, training and running is a solitary practice. He said he likes to create his own race schedule and look at Southern Utah’s landscape without the crowds of race day.


Information from: The Spectrum, https://www.thespectrum.com

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